Beware of Experts

This was sent to me this week…

There is no end to well-meaning people with experience who will tell you what is NOT possible. They are experts. They have respect. But because none of us can predict trends with complete accuracy, they simply do not know whether most new ideas will work or not. In their good intentions they are trying to keep you from making a mistake. You came up with an idea they never thought about. So there must be something wrong with it.

Here is a short list of experts who were wrong…VERY wrong.

  • Decca Recordings in 1962 rejected the Beatles, saying: “Guitar music is on the way out.”
  • In 1876 a Western Union memo advised against purchasing Bell’s telephone patent for $100,000: “This telephone has too many short-comings to be seriously considered as a means of communication.  The device is inherently of no value to us.”
  • In 1899, Charles H. Duell, chief, U.S. Patent Office, recommended to President McKinley that it be closed because “everything which can be invented has already been invented.”
  • Charles Schwab, CEO of Bethlehem Steel, refused to finance the experiments of the Wright brothers, calling their plans for an airplane a “harum-scarum stunt.”
  • Marechal Ferdinand Foch in 1912 said, “Airplanes are interesting toys but of no military value.”
  • In 1934, Parker Brothers unanimously rejected the game of Monopoly saying, “It is too complicated, it takes too long to play, and people will not like to keep circling a board.”
  • In the 1940s Darryl F. Zanuck said, “[Television] won’t be able to hold onto any market it captures after the first six months. People will get tired of staring at a plywood box every night.”
  • Thomas Watson, chairman of IBM, predicted in 1943, “I think there is a world market for maybe five computers.”
  • A Grand Ole Opry agent in 1955 said to Elvis Presley after hearing his first performance, “You ain’t goin’ nowhere with that son. You ought to go back to drivin’ a truck.”
  • In 1964 a studio rejected Ronald Reagan for the role of president in The Best Man, saying, “Reagan doesn’t have the presidential look.”
  • A Yale professor awarded a ‘C’ to Fredrick Smith’s senior thesis proposing a private overnight mail delivery service because “The idea is not feasible.” Smith used his idea to start Fed Ex.
  • Ken Olsen, president of Digital Equipment Corporation, said in 1977, “There is no reason for any individual to have a computer in their home.”